Carl Turner’s new app, Neighborz, is being described as “Tinder for restaurants”. His company will be one of the first group of innovative startups welcomed into the Winston Starts collaborative at 500 West Fifth Street, which opens to tenants this month.
Carl was born and raised in Berlin Germany and came to Winston-Salem in 2013 to study at Wake Forest University. He graduated in May 2017 with degrees in Finance and Computer Science. Before founding Neighbor, Inc., Carl worked with Google, A.T. Kearny and BCG.
What do you think makes Winston-Salem an innovative city?
In my view, Winston-Salem is an innovative city because of the very passionate and driven people who live in this community. Entrepreneurship and innovation is a priority for many people living here and this creates a special energy that helps entrepreneurs. Further, this passion is reflected in many programs and special communities like Flywheel, Winston Starts, Venture Cafe and many more. In addition, I feel that all the Universities and young talented students drive a lot of innovation with ideas they pursue on campuses and within the city. I also appreciate the focus on arts that I think gives a special creative touch to the environment.
How did you get the idea for the Neighborz app?
I got the idea for Neighborz when I was studying in Shanghai in the Fall of 2016. One of my favorite street food stands was linked to a mobile order platform and delivered in no time. I loved the convenience of mobile ordering, low delivery fees, no minimum cost and a very streamlined user experience so much that I was frustrated that nothing like this was available in Europe or the US. To change this, I founded Neighborz.
How have you worked to develop the idea into a reality?
First, I talked to many people about my idea and that I want to start this business. This helped a lot for me to be accountable as always some was asking “how is the idea going?” – and speaking about no progress was not an option. I further reached out to my network at Wake Forest University and in Winston-Salem to get feedback on the idea and to get connected to the right people. I then convinced friends and family to invest my idea. On the way, it was crucial to pivot here and there to maintain speed and get a product to market.
What are you looking forward to as one of the first group of startups in the Winston Starts program?
I am looking forward to the vibrant and challenging community that will stimulate my team and me to achieve more. I am further looking forward to the mentorship and the opportunities to work closely with very bright teams.
The Chamber’s Keep it Local initiative promotes community support for local business ventures. Spending locally creates a strong economy and a sense of place which gives our town its unique lifestyle. The Keep it Local campaign will feature a different segment of businesses each month in 2018. February is Arts and Innovation Mont